A Gallup article landed in my inbox referencing engagement levels at companies.
The article stated “in the U.S., only 28% of employees are engaged” at work.
While I was disheartened to see that number, I wasn’t surprised. Many corporate
people I speak with mention some significant disconnect with regard to their
job, either with leadership, workload, management or the system. These are not
grumblers. Far from it. Most are smart, experienced, high achievers. They’ve
simply become frustrated and disengaged over the last decade or so.
In defense of their companies, tremendous pressures abound; competition,
stagnating or shrinking markets, overhead considerations, stockholder
expectations. All challenging, but basically external. The issue of engagement,
however, is largely internal. It lies, in large part, with organizations employing twentieth century
people solutions to twenty-first century people.
During the last century, we were captivated by machines, assembly lines and
process. Next, came our fascination with information and technology; numbers,
data, metrics, reports, automation. All controllable, mostly predictable. But, when
it comes to compelling worker engagement and human potential, everything gets
a bit murky. No longer black and white, the grayness of it all can overwhelm.
The reality is, most people know what compels them to care and work hard. It
isn’t rocket science. The companies that understand their people and develop
cultures that support them, will create engaged workers; like the Zappos, SAS
and Southwest Airlines of the world. Companies that don’t, will likely continue to
I believe this is the time where a concentrated and focused effort needs to be
afforded the human element. Not at the expense of the other initiatives, but
certainly equal to them. Companies that recognize the value of an engaged and
happy workforce and make the cultural changes to support that result, will reap
the benefits. We are indeed entering a new age…perhaps it’s the age
of human potential.